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Monday 5 December 2016

Kiss signs out-half Herron and upgrades McPhillips

Les Kiss
Les Kiss

Director of Rugby Les Kiss has moved to deepen the out-half talent pool at Ulster by signing Bath fly-half Brett Herron and upgrading Ireland U20 Johnny McPhillips to a development contract.

The dearth of options in behind Paddy Jackson is a worry, to say the least, especially given how Ian Madigan's move to Bordeaux-Belges could finally open the door for Jackson to understudy Jonathan Sexton for Ireland next season.

The emergency move of utility back Peter Nelson to out-half, before an ankle injury, and the announcement of Ian Humphreys' retirement at the end of the season was cast-iron proof Ulster needed reinforcements in a unique position.

The signing of Herron could prove to be a smart piece of business.

"We are delighted to bring Brett into the Ulster environment," said Kiss.

Herron has been restricted by injury and the presence of England's George Ford and Wales' Rhys Priestland at Premiership club Bath.

"He has undoubted potential, with an array of skills and real line-breaking ability, which we aim to explore further.

"With the depth of International-class out-halves at Bath, Brett's opportunities have been limited to the 'A' team and Rosslyn Park, where he has excelled."

McPhillips did not really impress in the pivotal role for Ireland during the U20 Six Nations, Kiss confident that there is far more in the locker.

"That experience will stand him in good stead," added Kiss.

"He is mature well beyond his years and he has the right temperament and ability to succeed at the highest level.

"He will undoubtedly push through next season and stake a claim for senior squad involvement."

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